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ACTS XVI. 16.
And when she was baptized and her household;
THIS is an observation concerning Lydia, and a part of the short history given of her embracing the gospel, complying with gospel institutions, and exhibiting the fruit of her religion in her charity and liberality. It seems by the special direction of God, that the Apostles had now come to Phil. lippi, the chief city of Macedonia, and that on the Sabbath, they went out of the city by a river, a place of resort for prayer, and preached the gos. pel.-Lydia, it seems, was wrought upon : And upon her embracing the gospel, not only was she baptized, but her household.
The subject suggested by these words, is houses hold baptism. It is a subject on which I have eve er been loath to treat in a public manner, as I am unwilling to grieve my Baptist brethren.
But it is thought by some, that there is a call in Providence, to attend to the subject, while some are renouncing their baptism, and others enquiring into the subject. Indeed, I cannot feel myself clear in neglecting to hold up what to me, is light, while many are running into that which, I consid. er an error ; though not an error which destroys my charity.
It is observable relative to these words, that there is no intimation that the Lord opened the heart of any of her household but herseif at that ume.
It is natural to suppose, that the Apostle administered baptism to her household, on the manifestation of her faith. It is said that it does not appear that Lydia had any infant in her family, or was ever married.-Were this certain, it would not alter the instruction from the example ; as household, according to instituted, covenant grant, comprehended all the subjects of the family, born in the house, or bought with money, as well as the infant seed of the parents. House and household seem to be covenant terms, and of determinate meaning.
Abraham's household, it seems, were those on whom he exercised government; concerning whom he had a promise, that they should keep the way of the Lord.
Joshua's house were those under his authority, and concerning whom he might resolve, "as for me and
house, we will serve the Lord. So that household baptism confirms the right and obligation of infants' baptism, as they belong to the household.
The doctrine which I shall attempt to establish is this, that household baptism is of divine institution.
I have already considered, what is to be understood by household : That it intended the subjects in the family those whom the head of the family was to command and train up. The word was, no doubt, of determinate signification, signifying those born in the house, or bought with money.All whose education we have the charge of; these are they, to whom the covenant extends. “I know him that he will command his children and house, hold after him," says God, in Genesis.
In the following discourse I shall,
I. Attempt to shew, that household baptism is of divine institution.
II. Offer some things relative to the mode, in which water is to be applied in baptism.
I. I am to show, that household baptism is of Divine institution. It is often said by our Baptist brethren, that there is not a precept, or example for infant baptism from Genesis to Revelation, and make their challenge. It is, on the other hand, challenged to produce precept, or example for plunging in baptism : Yet our Baptist brethren think it plain, that God will own baptism in no other manner. :: So, there is no direct precept, or example, in Scripture, for a woman's partaking of the Lord's supper, or of a Minister's being dismissed, or removed from office ; yet these are subjects abund. antly clear.
It is granted that there is not an example of the baptism of infants ; yet we have sufficient example of household baptism ; which amounts to the saine thing: They are included. It is to be conceded, that if the covenant of grace; made with Adam, renewed to Noah, Abraham, &c. were in these dispensations, essentially different, and nothing could be argued from the administration under them, it would be rather strange, that this duty should not have been made more plain. But those in general, who reject household baptism, do not go to the foundation. Tlve covenant grant is that, by which we are to determine the extent. Did we want to know, who are heirs to an inheritance, we should go to the testament, in order to determine. But under preceding dispensations, the administration according to covenant, extended to households, and there is an entire silence under the christian dispensation.
This is a sufficient warrant still to extend the administration to house, holds. But some may question whether the same covenant is still in existence, or whether baptism is a part of the administration of the covenant now,
as under the preceding dispensation.s: I would therefore, attempt to shew,
(I.) That the covenant that was revealed to Abraham, was the covenant of
grace. * (II.) As circumcision was a part of the administration of the covenant under the law, so bap, tism is under the gospel.
(III.) The covenant did, under preceding dispensations, extend to the household of God's peo ple, and they were the subjects of the administra, tion.
(IV.) The blessings or extent of it have not been curtailed.
(1.) The covenant with Adam, Noah, and A. braham, was the covenant of grace, and the same that has been exhibited under the gospel. The blessings in the grant are essential blessings. The covenant is called repeatedly an everlasting covenant, and the words which God spake to a thou. sand generations ; referring likely to those words,
visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, &c."
It is evident, that this was the covenant of grace, and not superceded by the gospel state ; as the Apostle introduces this to prove how we are justified and saved. The promise to Abraham was, that we might have strong consolation : viz. That christians, under the christian dispensation, might have strong consolation. This observation wäs after the Apostle had shewn, that the shadows and appendages of the covenant were abols ished in Christ.
Further, the Apostle shows, that the Gentilės were grafted in, where the natural branches were broken off. Of consequence they are essentially under similar obligations, and entitled to similar privileges. What puts the matter in the clearest light, is the observation of the Apostle'
, that the
Gentiles should be fellow-heirs.? Of what? Why, of all the blessings of the Jews. They are said to be of “the same body,” viz. Christ's, and
partakers of his promises,” viz. the peculiar promises made to Abraham and his seed.
(2.) Circumcision was a part of the administration of the covenant under the Jewish dispen„sation ; a seal of the covenant : So is baptism un. der the christian dispensation. Circumcision gave place to baptism.
These are ideas which I should suppose, no one could dispute. Both are external badges, or marks, which God has instituted, to be set on his people. They signify the same thing. If God has shifted his mark, that is no reason of alteration as to subjects.
That God has made no alteration, makes it eyident then.
(3.) But this brings me to shew, that the covenant which has existed ever since the first intimations of mercy, did, under preceding dispensations, extend to the infant seed of God's people.
It appears to have been so before the flood. The posterity of Seth were considered in different visible relation from the rest of the world, and were called the sons of God,"
So, God took Noah's household into the ark. “Come thou and all thy house into the ark j
for thlee have I found righteous before me in this generation."Peter tells us, t'a like figure whereunto baptism answereth.'
It is still more clear and express, if possible, in what follows. "God says, in his covenant, I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee.' ery male child shall be circumcised.” “ All born in thy house and bought with thy money.” “The uncircumcised man-child shall be cut off.” And therefore, in conformity to the law in this respect,